Category Archives: Testing

In-season testing to return to Formula 1 in 2012

Ferrari's own circuit will play host for in-season testing next year

Ferrari's own circuit will play host for in-season testing next year

All Formula 1 team bosses have officially signed off plans for next year’s testing schedule, which is confirmed to have a single in-season test in Mugello.

Many teams, as well as FIA president Jean Todt, have been pushing to return a limited amount of testing to the sport, after 2 years of only pre-season tests.

With this agreement, the teams will be obliged to three tests in Jerez (Feb 7-9) and Barcelona (Feb 21-24, Mar 1-4).

Then, a new test session will take place in Mugello on May 1st, which takes place after the first 4 flyaway races of the 2012 season. This will mean that teams will be able to re-evaluate and develop their cars before the Spanish Grand Prix two weeks later.

Mugello last played host to an F1 car in January 2009, when Felipe Massa unveiled the Ferrari F60.

Barcelona Day 9: Heavy rain leaves Rosberg on top

Rosberg led a soaked final test session

Rosberg led a soaked final test session

The final day of 2011 testing closed rather unspectacularly, with very heavy rain limiting running all day. A slight improvement in conditions in the afternoon left Nico Rosberg on top.

The morning saw the track completely washed out. Extreme wet tyre testing would have been useless, so all 6 remaining teams (Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull, Williams, Mercedes, and Hispania stuck in the garage with no suspension parts) were waiting in the garage until just before the lunch break.

Fernando Alonso didn’t set a fast time, making 5 exploration laps in the afternoon, and the team packed up and left before the end of the session.

Michael Schumacher similarly only set 5 laps, but team-mate Rosberg set 35, getting lucky with the slightly improved conditions late in the session. His time of 1.43.814 was half a second faster than Pastor Maldonado. Lewis Hamilton was 2 tenths off in 3rd.

Despite getting little valuable data today, Rosberg was still happy with Mercedes’ progress:

"Definitely the team has made a lot of progress, so it has been great to see how much 
progress has come on," said Rosberg at the conclusion of testing on Saturday.

Of course we are not there yet, as we want to win the world championship and we are 
not the fastest car yet, but things are going in the right direction so that is really 
nice to see.

The theory says that it is going to be 0.4 seconds quicker, you put it on, generally 
there are very few issues with them and they are 0.4 seconds quicker. So that is nice 
to see."

Times from Barcelona Day 9:

Pos  Driver              Team               Time       Gap     Laps
 1.  Nico Rosberg        Mercedes           1.43.814           35
 2.  Pastor Maldonado    Williams-Cosworth  1.44.333   0.519   23
 3.  Lewis Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes   1.44.560   0.746   33
 4.  Michael Schumacher  Mercedes                              5
 5.  Fernando Alonso     Ferrari                               5

No testing for HRT?

HRT now face the prospect of not running their 2011 car until Melbourne

HRT now face the prospect of not running their 2011 car until Melbourne

After unveiling their 2011 car in the pitlane in Barcelona today, Hispania were set to begin testing in the afternoon. However, after crucial parts being sent over were held by customs, the team are now faced with the prospect of beginning the season with absolutely no testing.

Of course, the team has been in this situation before. Last year, their F110 hadn’t turned a wheel before Friday Practice 2 in Bahrain. Today should have seen the team attend their first test session, but the dampers for the suspension are currently being held by customs, with no possibility of them arriving for tomorrow.

Team principal Colin Kolles has said:

"Unfortunately we could not get the dampers out of customs. The result of this is 
that we can't run tomorrow. This is life and we will overcome this problem."

The consolation for the team is that they have slight experience of the new Pirelli tyres, as both Vitantonio Liuzzi and Narain Karthikeyan have driven the F110 with 2011-spec tyres.

Barcelona Day 8: Mercedes updates put Schumacher on top

Mercedes' updates put Schumacher on top

Mercedes' updates put Schumacher on top

A raft of upgrades to the Mercedes Wo2 has gone exactly according to plan for the team, with Michael Schumacher leaping to the top of the testing timesheets, after struggling all week.

Nico Rosberg, who took over from Schumacher in the afternoon, was 3rd, ending a hugely successful day for the Brackley team.

A 1.21.249 qualifying simulation was 0.3 seconds faster than Fernando Alonso in 2nd, who did more than double the laps than Schumacher, but never looked like taking the lead.

Rosberg only did 22 laps, but still managed to get within 2 tenths of Alonso.

Renault suffered more reliability problems, with Nick Heidfeld stuck in the garage in the afternoon, but still managed 4th. Rubens Barrichello seemed unaffected by the huge tyre degradation that every team has had, as the Brazilian stuck with the same set of tyres for considerable time, losing only 1 second in lap times every 12 laps.

Kamui Kobayashi and Jaime Alguersuari were 6th and 7th, with Sebastian Vettel 8th. The world champion had a very low-key test today, not setting a qualifying-style lap like previous days. He also stopped out on track with one minute to go.

A series of updates put Lotus up to 9th, with Heikki Kovalainen at the wheel. He completed 137 laps, and was only 2.1 seconds off the pace of the leaders.

Force India split their running between Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta, who were 10th and 11th respectively.

An engine change each for Pastor Maldonado and Jenson Button left both cars in the pits for most of the afternoon, with the Williams managing only 11 laps. Jerome D’Ambrosio was again miles off the pace, 6.1 seconds behind Schumacher.

Despite struggling in previous days, Michael is happy with the progress made on the car. Today he said:

"We have been developing the car step by step. The main issue we had here at the test 
was trying to find the right balance, and optimising the car performance.

It has worked pretty well, so we are looking forward to going to Australia to be in 
a reasonably strong position. I am not sure everyone has opened their cards completely 
yet but that is something to be seen in Australia.

All I can say that we have seen today here that our package seems to work reasonably 
well, but has everyone shown their true potential? That is something that we will 
find out in Australia."

Times from Barcelona Day 8:

Pos  Driver              Team                  Time       Gap     Laps
 1.  Michael Schumacher  Mercedes              1.21.249           67
 2.  Fernando Alonso     Ferrari               1.21.614   0.365   141
 3.  Nico Rosberg        Mercedes              1.21.788   0.539   22
 4.  Nick Heidfeld       Renault               1.22.073   0.824   67
 5.  Rubens Barrichello  Williams-Cosworth     1.22.233   0.984   89
 6.  Kamui Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari        1.22.315   1.066   98
 7.  Jaime Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1.22.675   1.426   72
 8.  Sebastian Vettel    Red Bull-Renault      1.22.933   1.684   64
 9.  Heikki Kovalainen   Lotus-Renault         1.23.437   2.188   138
10.  Paul di Resta       Force India-Mercedes  1.23.653   2.404   42
11.  Adrian Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  1.23.921   2.672   26
12.  Pastor Maldonado    Williams-Cosworth     1.24.108   2.859   11
13.  Jenson Button       McLaren-Mercedes      1.25.837   4.588   57
14.  Jerome D'Ambrosio   Virgin-Cosworth       1.27.375   6.126   46

Barcelona Day 6: Vettel keeps Red Bull on top

Vettel kept Red Bull on top

Vettel kept Red Bull on top

Red Bull continued to lead the testing at Barcelona today, as Sebastian Vettel led the rest of the field.

A time of 1.21.865 was the quickest yet of testing this year, and the world champion was half a second ahead of Sebastien Buemi, who completed an impressive 120 laps today, despite causing a red flag and stopping for several pit stop practice sessions.

Vitaly Petrov was another to cause a red flag. Still replacing the ill Nick Heidfeld, a 4-lap run ensured him 3rd place. It was a very difficult day for McLaren, as two exhaust failures and a hydraulic leak delayed Lewis Hamilton, although a single one-lap run got him up to 4th.

A new exhaust system was being tested by Massa in the Ferrari, and his longer run pace suggested he was keeping up well with the Red Bulls. However his short-fuel runs were less impressive, leaving him 5th.

Another red flag was caused by a fuel pressure problem for Paul di Resta, who was 6th, leading Kamui Kobayashi. Bodywork and exhaust changes did not improve Mercedes’ pace, as Nico Rosberg was down in 8th, and 3.9 seconds off the pace.

Jarno Trulli put his Lotus in 9th place. KERS issues severely hampered Williams’ day, limiting Pastor Maldonado to 29 laps all day. He only managed to get out of the garage after disconnecting the KERS unit. Jerome D’Ambrosio was again well off the pace, and headed up the back of the field.

Times from Barcelona Day 6:

Pos  Driver             Team                  Time       Gap    Laps
 1.  Sebastian Vettel   Red Bull-Renault      1.21.865          112
 2.  Sebastien Buemi    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1.22.396   0.531  120
 3.  Vitaly Petrov      Renault               1.22.670   0.805  116
 4.  Lewis Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes      1.22.888   1.023  57
 5.  Felipe Massa       Ferrari               1.23.324   1.459  101
 6.  Paul di Resta      Force India-Mercedes  1.24.334   2.469  118
 7.  Kamui Kobayashi    Sauber-Ferrari        1.24.436   2.571  107
 8.  Nico Rosberg       Mercedes              1.25.807   3.942  100
 9.  Jarno Trulli       Lotus-Renault         1.26.090   4.225  98
10.  Pastor Maldonado   Williams-Cosworth     1.26.989   5.124  29
11.  Jerome D'Ambrosio  Virgin-Cosworth       1.28.982   7.117  64

Barcelona Day 5: Webber hints at Red Bull’s potential

Mark Webber led Day 5

Mark Webber led Day 5

Mark Webber headed the fifth day of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya, after Sergio Perez’s fastest lap was deleted for cutting a chicane.

Webber’s best lap came in the morning during a qualifying simulation, when the track was still damp. At that point, he was up to two seconds faster than anyone else on track.

A strange addition to Button's McLaren

A strange addition to Button's McLaren

Jenson Button ran with a strange addition to the nosecone, and was 0.3 seconds behind the Red Bull. His day was spoilt by being forced to abandon a race simulation, losing him up to 50 laps.

Vitaly Petrov took over from an unwell Nick Heidfeld, who had a cold. Petrov was 3rd, several hundreths behind Button. Perez was in the top 5 all day long, and ended up 4th. With a few minutes to go, a shock time of 1.21.176 propelled him to the top, 1.4 seconds faster than Webber. However, the live timing revealed he had gained two full seconds in the final sector by cutting a chicane, and the lap was removed.

Nick Heidfeld was 5th, after dropping out after 20 laps. Paul di Resta was 6th for Force India, while Lotus tested Davide Valsecchi. He managed 50 laps, and was 2.8 seconds off the fastest time, although he spun into the gravel in the afternoon.

Sebastien Buemi was 8th, and Nico Hulkenberg 9th. Luiz Razia shared the Lotus car with Valsecchi, but was 6.5 seconds off the pace.

Jerome D’Ambrosio did not set a competitive lap time, but set 57 laps and was in and out of the pits all day long.

Times from Barcelona Day 5:

Pos  Driver             Team                  Time       Gap    Laps
 1.  Mark Webber        Red Bull-Renault      1.22.544          97
 2.  Jenson Button      McLaren-Mercedes      1.22.910   0.366  74
 3.  Vitaly Petrov      Renault               1.22.937   0.393  27
 4.  Sergio Perez       Sauber-Ferrari        1.24.117   1.573  90
 5.  Nick Heidfeld      Renault               1.24.735   2.191  20
 6.  Paul di Resta      Force India-Mercedes  1.25.039   2.495  38
 7.  Davide Valsecchi   Lotus-Renault         1.25.406   2.862  50
 8.  Sebastien Buemi    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1.26.004   3.460  48
 9.  Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes  1.26.030   3.486  31
10.  Luiz Razia         Lotus-Renault         1.26.723   4.179  29
11.  Jerome D'Ambrosio  Virgin-Cosworth       1.32.060   9.516  57

Glock to miss testing after surgery

Timo Glock will miss testing after surgery yesterday

Timo Glock will miss testing after surgery yesterday

Timo Glock is set to miss the rest of pre-season testing, after undergoing surgery for appendicitis yesterday.

There shouldn’t be any worries though – the Virgin team have stated that his absence is only precautionary, and he is well on course to racing at the season opener in Melbourne later this month.

Second driver Jerome D’Ambrosio will take Glock’s place for the rest of testing, which resumes on March 8th.

The team’s principal, John Booth, has stated:

“I can confirm that Timo had an operation yesterday to remove his appendix after a 
sudden case of appendicitis. The procedure was routine and Timo is recovering well 
in a Swiss hospital where he is likely to remain for a further 24 hours.

“To ensure a swift recovery, it is unlikely that he will take part in next week’s 
test in Barcelona and that Jerome will run on all four days instead, however, we 
will make a final decision early next week. We look forward to having Timo back 
with us very soon.”

 

Barcelona Day 4: Massa ends test on top

Felipe Massa topped the final day of this test

Felipe Massa topped the final day of this test

Felipe Massa led the final day of testing in Barcelona today.

He set the quickest time out of all four days – 1.22.625 – after a successful day running various set-ups and fuel loads.

Trulli's Lotus is recovered after his crash

Trulli's Lotus is recovered after his crash

He was 8 tenths of a second ahead of Mark Webber, while Sebastien Buemi continued Toro Rosso’s good form in 3rd.

Nick Heidfeld was delayed with a KERS issue, but was 4th. Lewis Hamilton made up for losing ground on his rivals in recent days, by setting over 100 laps to take 5th.

Pastor Maldonado was another driver to suffer KERS problems, relating to the water pump, which left him without the device for most of the day. Nevertheless he set the most laps today (121) and was 1.4 seconds behind in 6th. Adrian Sutil, Sergio Perez, Jerome D’Ambrosio and Michael Schumacher were 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th respectively.

It was a disaster for Lotus today. Little more than an hour into the test, and Jarno Trulli crashed at Campsa corner. He had only completed 18 laps, and the car was stuck in the garage for the rest of the day.

Despite his crash, Trulli was still pleased with Lotus’ progress:

“It's obviously disappointing to have the test cut short like this but these things 
happen in motor racing. We started the day well and until the accident happened I had 
picked up where I left off yesterday.

The car has good balance, pace we can build on and has the potential to help us take 
the fight to the midfield, so I'm leaving here feeling confident about the season 
ahead and am looking forward to the next test, wherever that will be."

Times from Barcelona Day 4:

Pos  Driver             Team                   Time       Gap     Laps
 1.  Felipe Massa       Ferrari                1.22.625           121
 2.  Mark Webber        Red Bull-Renault       1.23.442   0.817   69
 3.  Sebastien Buemi    Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1.23.550   0.925   90
 4.  Nick Heidfeld      Renault                1.23.657   1.032   95
 5.  Lewis Hamilton     McLaren-Mercedes       1.24.003   1.378   107
 6.  Pastor Maldonado   Williams-Cosworth      1.24.057   1.432   121
 7.  Adrian Sutil       Force India-Mercedes   1.24.177   1.552   64
 8.  Sergio Perez       Sauber-Ferrari         1.24.515   1.890   74
 9.  Jerome D'Ambrosio  Virgin-Cosworth        1.26.501   3.876   50
10.  Michael Schumacher Mercedes               1.27.079   4.454   114
11.  Jarno Trulli       Lotus-Renault          1.29.992   7.367   18

Barcelona Day 3: Rosberg heads mixed session

Nico Rosberg headed a mostly wet session

Nico Rosberg headed a mostly wet session

Nico Rosberg unseated Sebastian Vettel off the top of the timesheets in Barcelona today, as the weather again made for unpredictable conditions.

Rain in the morning forced most teams to start on extreme wet tyres. The track dried out during the day, and the final few hours allowed slick the use of slick tyres.

Rosberg focused on KERS and tyre development today, as well as qualifying simulations. He was 3 tenths ahead of Vitaly Petrov, who completed work on a new suspension and exhaust layout.

Lewis Hamilton was 3rd, and was an entire second ahead of Pastor Maldonado in 4th. The Williams driver caused one of several red flags today, as he spun in the treacherous conditions.

Mark Webber was 5th, and Jarno Trulli 6th, as the Lotus suffered yet another water leak, limiting him to only 48 laps. Sergio Perez was another rookie to have  spin, and was delayed with rear wing problems, but still managed 7th.

Adrian Sutil was 8th. He led Sebastien Buemi, who shared his Toro Rosso with Daniel Ricciardo, who was back in 13th. Felipe Massa caused two red flags, ran off track several times, and finished a lacklustre 10th. Timo Glock was 0.09 seconds behind in 11th.

Hispania tested 2006 Midland test driver Giorgio Mandini today. He did 39 laps, and was 5 seconds off the pace in 12th. Narain Karthikeyan was last, 7.5 seconds off the pace.

Rosberg was happy with today’s progress:

"It was interesting running with the intermediates this morning and, although the 
warm-up is tricky, we definitely improved our understanding of the tyres. Our long 
runs this afternoon included some aero work in preparation for our next upgrade 
package before going into lower-fuel, new-tyre running at the end of the day. We 
made good progress in understanding the car and the tyres, and the reliability was 
solid once again."

Times from Barcelona Day 3:

Pos  Driver              Team                  Time       Gap       Laps
 1.  Nico Rosberg        Mercedes              1.23.168             92
 2.  Vitaly Petrov       Renault               1.23.463   0.295     93
 3.  Lewis Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes      1.23.858   0.690     93
 4.  Pastor Maldonado    Williams-Cosworth     1.24.815   1.647     60
 5.  Mark Webber         Red Bull-Renault      1.24.995   1.827     139
 6.  Jarno Trulli        Lotus-Renault         1.25.454   2.286     48
 7.  Sergio Perez        Sauber-Ferrari        1.25.557   2.389     115
 8.  Adrian Sutil        Force India-Mercedes  1.25.720   2.552     102
 9.  Sebastien Buemi     Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1.26.155   2.987     31
10.  Felipe Massa        Ferrari               1.26.508   3.340     123
11.  Timo Glock          Virgin-Cosworth       1.26.598   3.430     97
12.  Giorgio Mondini     Hispania-Cosworth     1.28.178   5.010     39
13.  Daniel Ricciardo    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1.28.329   5.161     42
14.  Narain Karthikeyan  Hispania-Cosworth     1.30.722   7.554     32

Barcelona Day 2: Vettel stays on top

Sebastian Vettel continued to lead the pack on Day 2 in Barcelona

Sebastian Vettel continued to lead the pack on Day 2 in Barcelona

Sebastian Vettel led the second day of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya today.

He improved on yesterday’s fastest lap by more than a second, with a 1.23.315 today. Jaime Alguersuari continued his impressive form by finishing 2nd and only 0.2 seconds off Vettel. Local fans impressively filled the grandstands to see Fernando Alonso, who was 3rd.

It wasn’t clear sailing for the Spaniard, though, as the Ferrari suffered two failures across the day. Early on he stopped at Turn 4 with an electrical problem, and later was delayed by another hitch.

Rubens Barrichello and Nick Heidfeld’s last gasp laps put them up to 4th and 5th respectively. Kamui Kobayashi was 6th, while a 1-lap rungot Nico Rosberg 7th place.

It was a troubled day for McLaren. A hydraulic problem kept Jenson Button in the pits in the morning, then he managed only 54 laps across the day to get 8th position. Paul di Resta was 9th, after spinning into the gravel at Turn 1 after a throttle problem.

Heikki Kovalainen was hindered by mechanical issues, and was 10th. The second Renault of Petrov was 11th, while Vitantonio Liuzzi was 12th testing for Hispania, and Timo Glock was 13th. Lotus also tested Portugese-Angolan driver Ricardo Teixeira today. He did 26 laps, and was 8 seconds off the pace.

Times from Barcelona day 2:

Pos  Driver       Team                  Time                 Laps
 1.  Vettel       Red Bull-Renault      1.23.315             104
 2.  Alguersuari  Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1.23.519    0.204    97
 3.  Alonso       Ferrari               1.23.978    0.663    90
 4.  Barrichello  Williams-Cosworth     1.24.008    0.693    118
 5.  Heidfeld     Renault               1.24.242    0.927    41
 6.  Kobayashi    Sauber-Ferrari        1.24.243    0.928    125
 7.  Rosberg      Mercedes              1.24.730    1.415    131
 8.  Button       McLaren-Mercedes      1.24.923    1.608    54
 9.  Di Resta     Force India-Mercedes  1.25.194    1.879    80
10.  Kovalainen   Lotus-Renault         1.26.421    3.106    58
11.  Petrov       Renault               1.26.884    3.569    61
12.  Liuzzi       HRT-Coswrorth         1.27.044    3.729    70
13.  Glock        Virgin-Cosworth       1.27.242    3.927    66
14.  Teixeira     Lotus-Renault         1.31.584    8.269    26
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